Happy summer! It’s finally here! I, and probably everyone else in the northeast, have been waiting for summer to officially begin for months now. It’s Memorial Day Weekend, so we all know that means the best season of the year is about to get underway. Many people in New Jersey are getting ready to head down to the Jersey Shore for the first time in 2014, so in honor of that, I thought I’d talk about the beaches I’ve been to and the ones I want to visit. I’ll go north to south as to not confuse anyone.
Beaches I’ve Been To
1. Sea Bright
I haven’t been to Sea Bright in a few years, but when I was there I remember it being a nice, small, quiet beach. There’s no boardwalk and only a small cafe for food and restrooms near the parking lot. The drive there was quite spectacular…mansions upon mansions upon mansions. I guess the reason it’s much cleaner and quieter is because it’s got a hoity toity crowd that lives nearby.
2. Long Branch
Long Branch is a bit bigger, as it does get some crowds. It doesn’t have your typical boardwalk, though there are shops and small restaurants just off the beach that are convenient. Parking is reasonable and you don’t have to go fighting for spots, which is always nice. It’s a good in-between type beach if you want something to do, but don’t want the craziness involved with your stereotypical boardwalk crowds.
I have a friend who lives right near Belmar and she grew up in the town, so I always go there when I’m with her. That makes it much more enjoyable, having someone who knows the area. Of course, in season, a lot of people go to Belmar, so you’ll find your stereotypical “guidos” among the crowd. Belmar is also known for its clubs (where you’ll also find said guidos), and while I don’t go down the shore for that scene, it can be fun on special occasions. Also, I’m quite self conscious on the beach, so if you’re like me and don’t like to be seen around the super fit and ripped beings that show up there, it might not be the beach for you.
4. Spring Lake
I don’t believe it’s private really, but I don’t think Spring Lake gets a huge crowd because there is nothing there besides the beach, and a “boardwalk” which separates the road from the dunes. It’s nice and clean, if you’re looking for a place to just relax.
5. Point Pleasant
I grew up going to Point Pleasant. Every summer since I was born, my family would come down to this beach. One, because it was only a town over from where my grandparents lived (convenient when you’ve got young children who are covered in sand and tired and hungry), and two, because it had entertainment. I saved my quarters as a kid just waiting to hit the arcades on the boardwalk. We’d always eat at Martell’s Tiki Bar, and occasionally go to the amusement park if other family members were with us. I don’t go there all that often anymore, mostly because it’s where camps and other large groups of children go on their designated beach days, and I prefer to have as few screaming and active children around me as possible when I’m on the beach.
6. Island Beach State Park
I’ve only been here once, but I definitely want to go back. Yes, it is right next to Seaside. No, it’s nothing like Seaside. This place is beautiful. It’s the bluest, clearest water I’ve seen on the Jersey Shore, and being a state park, there’s nothing but dunes and grass and sand. I believe it closes once there’s a certain amount of people in it, but it’s worth the chance trying to get there.
1. Long Beach Island
LBI is the destination I’ve always wanted to get to. Growing up in school, I’d always hear kids talking about going to LBI to their shore house. I never really got it, but being older, I want a shore house myself. Any of the beaches on LBI, I’ll take it. Someday I’ll have my house there…
Wildwood always seemed so far from my house. I guess it is, probably about three hours or so. I’m sure it’s worth the drive. I’ve heard the beaches are massive and the boardwalk is just the same. There’s nothing like a night on the boardwalk, so why not hit one of the biggest in the state?
3. Cape May
This town at the tip of the state and the last exit off the Parkway has always seemed hit or miss for me. But after doing some research, it really seems charming and I’ve read all sorts of articles how there are things not to be missed there. I’ll take a bed & breakfast for a few days to go exploring and figure this place out myself.
Naturally, now that I’ve written this, I’m driving myself crazy because I want to be on a beach right now. I must be patient though. It will happen. Happy MDW!